Loading Map...

Sad en new in Phnom Penh

Written on: Sunday December 30th, 2007

A journal entry from: See you next year!

The most remarkable thing we did in Phnom Penh, besides celebrating New Year's Eve in a somewhat moderate fashion, was visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum and the nearby "Killing Fields" of Choeung Ek. Both museum and the "Killing Fields" are a reminder of the atrocities commited by the "Khmer Rouge" during their reign in Cambodia.

The Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum is a former high school, later to be used as a prison center by the "Khmer Rouge". Of the estimated 17.000 people who were detained, and often tortured, there, only 12 survived. Everybody else died. Some through torture, others were battered to death with something like iron sticks and pickaxes on the "Killing Fields".

This whole period is a shocking example of how unbelievably cruel and incredibly disturbed human kind can be. How the so called educated leaders of the "Khmer Rouge" can send millions of their compatriots to death, for something which you can hardly call an ideology, is beyond my imagination.

The only good thing about this whole period is that it also shows that human kind is capable of surviving such hardship and still come out as a good person. The books When Broken Glass Floats by Chanrithy Him and First they killed my father by Loung Ung are shining examples of this. 

Stories like these help to bring back the believe that the word human in humanity is meant as a good thing.




P.S. To anyone interested in the history of the "Khmer Rouge" I suggest to read the above links and maybe some of the mentioned books there.